January 01, 2006
Gaining flexibility is primarily about discipline. It requires neither great pain nor specialized knowledge of particular tricks. The primary key to gaining flexibility is simply to stretch often. If you do not stretch, or do so only sporadically, your gains in flexibility will be limited. To improve your flexibility, you should stretch at least once a day, and, if possible, multiple times per day. Short, repeated exposure to stretching is more productive than a single intense or long bout of stretching. For example, it is far better to stretch ten minutes per day, every day, than to stretch 70 minutes once a week. Stretching is also a long-term commitment and must be continued indefinitely to maintain and/or increase flexibility.
Flexibility is not something that automatically comes with strength training. On the contrary, strength training without stretching can lead to dramatic reduction in flexibility. In many cases, when taken to the extreme, such a lack of flexibility will result in loss of "normal" function, not to mention loss of high-performance function so important to athletes.
Making significant increases in flexibility will bring marked improvement in performance.